Cast Care (cont.)
How a Cast Is Removed
- Do not try to remove the cast.
- When it is time to remove the cast, the doctor will take it off with a cast saw and a special tool.
- A cast saw is a specialized saw made just for taking off casts. It has a flat and rounded metal blade that has teeth and vibrates back and forth at a high rate of speed.
- The cast saw is made to vibrate and cut through the cast but not to cut the skin underneath.
- After several cuts are made in the cast (usually along either side), it is then spread and opened with a special tool to lift the cast off.
- The underlying layers of cast padding and stockinette are then cut off with scissors.
- After a cast is removed, depending on how long the cast has been on, the underlying body part may look different than the other uninjured side.
- The skin may be pale or a different shade.
- The pattern and length of hair growth may also be different.
- The injured part may even look smaller or thinner than the other side because some of the muscles have weakened and have not been used since the cast was put on.
- If the cast was over a joint, the joint is likely to be stiff. It will take some time and patience before the joint regains its full range of motion.
Jennifer L Brown, MD, FACEP
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD